...really, it isn't. I mean, you may not think it's even Christmastime around here, but it is. And it's nearly 77 degrees. Los Angeles, man. What else can I say? And what better way to celebrate the season than to invite friends from The Ripple Effect over for some gaming, some laughing, and of course, some eating.
Tonight, I made a mixed green salad with a dijon balsamic viniagrette for a starter. Simple, yet delicious (it really is all about the dressing, after all). Marinated some minced shallots in a good balsamic vinegar with some salt and pepper. Whisked in a bit of dijon mustard and some finely grated Parmigiana (Grana from TJ's) and added some olive oil. The dress truly is the star in this performance, so I didn't add any further toppings or hoopla.
For the main course, I tried a new recipe - Braised Pork Ribs and Italian Sausage (sweet and hot). Braised with onions, peppers, basil, chili pepper flakes, white wine, whole Italian tomatoes and served over cooked pasta, it seemed to be a crown pleaser. The dish is topped off with crispy pancetta, sliced scallions, and some finely grated Parm. A good choice, say, if you're housebound as a result of a nasty blizzard, or just because in my case, you can't resist the pork.
And for the grand finale, a tribute to all desserts Italian in nature....tiramisu. Quite simply one of the easiest desserts to put together and yet it still has the "wow" factor when dinner guests take that first bite. I substituted Frangelico (hazelnut liquer) for the kahula (some recipes call for rum) and I think it worked out just fine. The only issue I've found with tiramisu recipes is that more often than not, you use more ladyfingers than the recipe calls for and you end up needing more of the espresso/liquer mixture for dipping. I'm glad I bought extra.
I hope you are able to take the time and spend it with loved ones, whether family or not. As the song says, "It's the most wonderful time of the year".....I know, I know, cliche. But it worked!!